CHAPTER FOUR

In the depths of space, on the outer edge of the Milky Way Galaxy, a ship about the size of an average three bedroom house lay dormant amidst an asteroid field. The ship's sole occupant lay asleep inside one of two cryogenic chambers that line the wall in the aft medical compartment. The ship had been powered down to minimum limits for at least forty years now. The sleeping soldier within was dreaming of a battle he had participated in. He and his fellow soldiers blasted through scores of Dumarian troops. A slight smile crossed his face when he thought of the victory party afterwards on Janis III with all the welcoming women.

In the meantime the ship's computer would run scheduled diagnostics to make sure all the spacecraft's systems were running properly. At this moment, the computer was running a diagnostic on the sensor array when it detected the distinct energy patterns of a Chymera probe. Registering an enemy of the Holm Collective, the computer went into a frenzy of running programs and subroutines including calculating where the probe had come from and its new trajectory, as well as, starting the reanimation sequence for its passenger. After such a long sleep, it would take Starkyne Gondev at least an hour to come out of stasis and begin his new mission.

Eric stood in the all white landscape of his mind with a blank stare on his face as he absorbed the new information. He had just been told by the alien AI that , in order to augment his body, they had to merge his DNA with certain alien DNA to give him super abilities which he still had no idea what they were. He pondered the idea of having alien genes running around his body for a few minutes before he spoke up.

"One question...am I going to be like sprouting antennae or anything weird."

No. You will not be growing any antennae. Although, by some races antennae are a sign of virility in males. Anyway, there may be some enhancement of your physical structure.

"Wait a minute...You mean I'm going to get bigger and stronger, right?" Eric asked.

Yes, that is correct.

"Cool. I think I can live with that. I hope it won't be too much though. It'll seem pretty weird if I get all buff overnight." He told the false image of his friend.

No. The change should be gradual at best. Everything should be fine. As per your new abilities, we should start training immediately to find out what they are. The Multi-Tool answered.

"Immediately...I can't start right now I've got...school. SCHOOL! THE BUS! I'm gonna be late for school. I gotta go. Let me out of here." He shouted at the mental image.

Of course...one second.

As soon as the Multi-Tool had completed its sentence, Eric found himself back in his room sitting on the floor. He looked around quickly and touched the floor to make sure he was back to his reality. He then noticed that the Multi-Tool on his wrist had morphed back into the regular looking silver watch of his. Then he noticed the time was 7:40 a.m. They had been talking for almost a half an hour in that strange mindscape. Eric knew for sure he would be late for school for the third time in a month.

"DAMN!" He spit as he hopped up and ran for the shower discarding clothes as he entered the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, Eric was running out the door and heading for the street when a voice buzzed into his head.

**If you plan on running to school, I suggest that you take this route. Observe.** The AI explained.

A holographic image of a map popped up from his watch. Eric ducked behind the large oak tree in his front yard so no one would see what he was doing.

**According to the map and your new physical enhancements. You should be able to make it to your educational facility by the appointed time.**

Eric studied the map. It showed his current position with a green triangle and a dotted path that cut through a number of backyards in his neighborhood and ran behind a large construction site next door to the school which was all behind his neighborhood. Maybe. Eric thought. Just maybe.

Even though it was still on autopilot, Starkyne Gondev sat at the helm of his ship, The Chrysalis. The old soldier watched the stars streak by the front viewport with satisfaction. He was on his way to the third planet of a single star system to find a newly indoctrined Redeemer. His muscles were still a bit numb, but he would be at a hundred percent when he reached this tiny planet called Earth. One of his main directives was to prevent the Chymeran probes from making them or destroy any Redeemers that it had made at all costs. At his current speed, it would take Starkyne a few hours to get there, but once he reached his destination nothing would stop him from destroying the spawn of the Chymera.

Eric paused in his backyard and scanned the adjacent houses to see if anyone was in their yards early enough to notice what he was about to do. As if sensing what he was thinking, the alien watch spoke up through their mental link.

**I detect no humans near our present location that can see us.**

"Are you sure I'll be able to make it to school on time going this way, uhmm...Hey what am I supposed to call you anyway." Eric asked putting his backpack all the way on.

**My official designation is Chymeran Liquid Crystal Combat Computer and yes, the obstacles in your way should be no problem for your augmented body**

"Uhhh, that's a bit of a mouth full. How about I just call you C3?" Eric told the computer.

**C3 will be sufficient. By the way, you better get going.** The alien computer stated nonchalantly.

Eric yelped and looked at his watch. He had already lost three minutes of his ten minute window. He ran toward the back fence without a second thought. as he ran, he was amazed at light his body felt with each step. His backyard was about forty feet from the back porch to the back fence. Eric cleared it in two seconds. When he reached the fence, he grabbed the top of the fence and leaped it with one hand and landed on the other side easily in The Andrews' little garden. He smiled a quick smile and kept running for the next yard. I wonder if Connie made the bus. He thought. When he reached the gate this time, he jumped it completely and landed in their front yard next to their Toyota. Without wasting anytime, he raced across their yard and then across Maxwell Dr. to the next yard. Old Man Wallace thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye, but dismissed it as nothing and went on about his usual morning yard work.

Eric proceeded to dash through yards at a great pace and picking up speed as he went, but his breathing had stayed at a steady, relaxed rate and somehow he felt as if he had not reached his maximum speed. Finally, he reached the last house in the neighborhood that his course would take him through. It was The Thompson's house. The thing about the Thompson home was that Mr. Thompson had built a nine foot wooden fence around his house. The new two story home was at the back of the neighborhood and gave him complete privacy. Many people thought it strange for him to do this, but figured it was his land and he could do what he wanted.

Once he reached the wooden fence, he jumped and did a front flip over the top of the pointy fence and landed on one knee and his hands flat on the ground like Solid Snake√£ at the beginning of the new Metal Gear Solid 2√£ game. Eric had a big smile on his face as he stood up and started running again. I am going to enjoy this. He thought. When he reached the pool, he quickly vaulted over it and kept sprinting. His computer companion buzzed in at this point.

**Eric I am reading a unknown energy source in close prox-...**

"No time for that now I'm almost to school. This sooo cool." He cut off the computer voice and leaped over the back fence.

**It could be important to investigate later, but I will comply and continue to analyze the energy emissions.**

"Cool. Do that and we'll check it out later." Eric replied as he ran through a lightly wooded area.

After about fifty feet, the wooded region opened up into a large grassy field that ran along the back of the construction site and then into densely wooded area behind the J. H. Alexander High's football field. The open space he needed to travel was a little over a hundred yards and concealed by the two sites as well as the high grass. Eric observed the area a second and realized his vision was a lot crisper and clearer. To his amazement when he focused, he could read the advertisement signs on the side of field fence like they were right in front of him. Unfortunately, he did not have time to ponder this new advancement and began his dash across the grassland.

When Eric reached about the halfway point of the meadow, he felt this weird feeling in his chest that reminded him of tingly sensation you get when your muscles falls asleep. Suddenly, the sensation spread to his entire body and in the following second, Eric found himself smashing into the woods behind the school. Eric stumbled to his feet and feeling himself up to make sure he did not break anything.

"Holy... What was that?! I...I could have been killed, but I'm...I'm not hurt! Not even a scratch! Whoah!"

**That Eric was only a sample of your new abilities and if my readings of the energy you emitted are correct...you are on your way to be one of the most powerful Redeemers ever created.**